Creeping Bent Grass

Scientific Name: Agrostis palustris

 

Creeping bentgrass has a different growing habit than the other commonly found cool season turf types - bluegrass, perennial rye and fescues. The upright growth habit of the blue/rye/fescue types make them easy to distinguish compared to the low, creeping and spreading habit of creeping bentgrass.

It is easy to identify creeping bentgrass in the home lawn by looking for a few different indicators.  Creeping bentgrass is typically a lighter shade of green compared with blue/rye/fescue which tends to have a deeper/richer blue-green color.  

Creeping bentgrass lays over, it does not grow upright like the blue/rye/fescue types.  During ht early morning hours when there is still dew on the lawn, there is a more dramatic difference in the appearance of the lawn.  The picture to the left shows dew sitting on top of the more horizontal blades of the creeping bentgrass thus making it more obvious.  As the moisture evaporates the difference between the turf types may not be as obvious to the untrained eye.  Because creeping bentgrass lays over and has above ground tillers/runners (called stolons), it will create a thick spongy mat in the lawn.  

Creeping bentgrass can be a very nice type of grass when used as a singular turf type in a lawn and managed properly.  It is desirable because it will handle some shade and also recuperates well from stress.  The moisture, fertility and maintenance requirements for creeping bentgrass in addition to disease susceptibility make it a less desirable turf type than other cool season turf types.  The cost to properly maintain creeping bentgrass, which is used in golf courses and professionally managed for best results, often makes creeping bentgrass a undesirable turf type.  It is often considered a weed in a blue/rye/fescue lawn like in the picture above.  

Often home owners have to "manage to the middle" when they have creeping bentgrass in their blue/rye/fescue lawn.  Eventually the creeping bentgrass will spread and take over a larger portion of the lawn if not kept in check.  The only effective way to remove creeping bentgrass from the lawn requires spraying it with a non-selective herbicide (i.e. Round-up), then removing it from the lawn and reseeding the area.  If removal is not a desirable option, then the owner must manage the lawn to keep both the creeping bentgrass happy as well as blue/rye/fescue mixtures - hence managing to the middle.  In the final analysis it will be challenging to manage a consistently green, lush and healthy appearing lawn from season to season due to the different needs and maintenance requirements of the turf types.  

 

 

 

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